Louisiana 2014 Legislative Session: Items to Watch Part VIII

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

This is part of my ongoing effort to highlight and provide brief summaries of legislative items in the 2014 session. If you have an item you would suggest I keep an eye on, drop me a line through the contact form. 

This entry covers: HB413, HB451, HB461, HB469, HB491, HB494, HB499, and HB501

House Bill 413 (HB413)     (Harrison) This bill would eliminate some types of parole eligibility for persons convicted of crimes of violence, sex offenses, or sentenced as habitual offenders. I think it is important to note that while there are bills proposed to change that one can currently by sentenced as a habitual offender in the state based solely on marijuana offenses. Update: This bill is scheduled for a March 26th committee meeting. Update: This bill has been voluntarily deferred.

House Bill 451 (HB451)  (Seabaugh) This bill prohibits union dues from being authorized as  a deduction from a public workers pay check with an exception made for police and firefighters. Exempting police and firefighter unions when attacking public worker unions is a popular strategic choice by the GOP.

House Bill   461 (HB461)  (Badon)  Repeals the statute that creates the crime of “drug traffic loitering”   because the Louisiana Supreme Court declared this statute unconstitutionally vague in State v. Muschkat, 96-2922 (La. 3/4/98), 706 So.2d 429   Update: This bill has been reported favorably from committee

House Bill 469 (HB469) (Harris)  This bill would prohibit cash transactions by secondhand dealers or operators of scrap metal recycling facilities for buying air conditioners or component parts of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The state legislature has shown a strong interest recently in restricting second hand good dealers paying in cash.

House Bill 491 (HB491) (Greene) This proposed constitutional amendment would replaces requirement that the legislature create parish school boards with a requirement that the legislature create local public school boards and would  require voter approval of new school boards in the effected area. It also states that any local public school district is included in the minimum foundation program and can levy taxes. (This bill may be related to the breakaway school district effort)

House Bill 494 (HB494) (Ivey) This proposed constitutional amendment asserts that the right to keep and bear arms includes the right to carry a concealed handgun without obtaining a permit.

Previous constitutional amendments on the topic of gun ownership have caused difficulties pertaining to state law prohibiting felons from having guns and while it was upheld in one case while the felon was still on probation it may be the case that violent felons who are no longer on probation will be able to possess guns due to a constitutional amendment making it a “fundamental” right.  I think it is important to not approve these types of constitutional amendments without considering the far reaching and dangerous ramifications they could have.

House Bill 499 (HB499) (Arnold) – This bill would require voter approval for the governing authority of a parish or municipality to impose a civil fine for a traffic violation based on an automated traffic enforcement system (red light cameras). Areas currently doing so may continue to until July 1, 2015 after which point they will only be able to continue if they have obtained the necessary voter approval.

House Bill 501 (HB501) (Bishop) – Would allow individuals to begin registering to vote at age 16. Voting is still (obviously) restricted to age 18 and over but this would allow for advance registration of teens.

Update: on 3/12 HB501 was considered by the Committee on House and Governmental Affairs and voluntarily deferred and rescheduled

Update : Scheduled for a March 19th committee meeting

Update : This bill has been reported to the House with slight amendments